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Werthead

Star Trek Thread: Set Picard to Stun (spoilers)

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8 hours ago, Werthead said:

I'm still not sure where you're getting this poverty thing from. So far we have one character living from their own choice in what is probably one of the most expensive spots in California (if property prices were still a thing) who can travel off-world at will thanks to her network of friends and contacts, which is not indicative of any level of poverty at all.

 

The lady basically tries to insult Picard, by saying something like "we all don't have a massive home to return to" or maybe it was "my accommodations are crap compared to yours" or something along those lines. Long story short, she's basically blaming Picard retiring for her being stuck living like trash, while he has a nice home to return to. So yea, the show is implying poverty. I mean if she's doing it of her own accord she's a massive hypocrite and I can do nothing but laugh at how poorly written the character is.

Edited by sifth

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2 hours ago, Werthead said:

Star Trek is about numerous things: exploration, self-betterment and overcoming problems with teamwork and scientific rationality are among them. The striving to overcome problems to try to achieve a utopian society is a part of that, as is the cost of that utopia, which is something that every Star Trek series has used as a way of generating storylines. Homefront and Paradise Lost was very much about the absolutely massive cost of maintaining Earth's utopian state and how that doesn't happen magically but with a massive cost in resources and vigilance (and later on, via Section 31, a lot of behind-the-scenes dirty tricks).

Given the absolutely titanic number of times of times that the Federation has done incredibly shady shit to cover its own back, I think this is a dubious conclusion.

Come on Wert, you know better than that. And I know better than to be dragged into a nerdy discussion over details, because I've done that countless times before.
As I said, some darker themes were explored before, but such exploration was generally prudent and balanced with other elements ; if anything, I personally feel that the exploration of darker themes was meant to reinforce the dominant optimistic tone (the mirror universe being the case in point).
As for Trek being about numerous things, sure. But that list you gave could be applied to at least half-a-dozen other sci-fi shows, what I'm talking about is what is specific to Trek, not just in the shows, but in the popular imagination, in other words, what specific elements people would reasonably expect from the Trek brand.

Point is:

2 hours ago, Werthead said:

The Federation may try to be an idealistic, utopian society but it isn't really.

Probably not. But that doesn't change the fact that an entire show based on having an idealistic main character opposed to the Federation as a whole on a major issue represents a major shift in both tone and narrative.
Cherry-picked moments from previous series will not change that: indeed the narrative itself has been used in Trek before. Given how many shows and episodes there were it just had to happen. Just as we had cynical characters and violence before as well.
And the Federation was never perfect, or at least not as perfect as it claimed to be.
But the setting as a whole was still supposed to carry a utopian tone. One could always believe that progressive forces would prevail at the end of the day. And they pretty much did, 9 out of 10 times, with a few counter-examples to raise the stakes, make it all interesting and somewhat credible.
By contrast, at this point it's increasingly difficult to see how Picard offers an overall optimistic setting. The harm has already been done, and even if our main characters succeed in defeating the antagonists and saving the damzel android, there's no way they can defeat the racism/xenophobia/prejudice that is so obviously widespread in their version of the Trek universe.

TBH Discovery annoyed me at times precisely because it could be so damn positive. But I didn't dwell on it because that's what Trek is all about. If I want a darker and "realistic" setting, there are many other shows or universes I can turn to (I'm a huge fan of the Warhammer 40,000 universe as you may remember).
But the bitter-sweet tone of Picard? It just doesnt feel like Trek that much. In fact, if Picard (the character) had a few obvious vices (like alcohol) it'd be just another instance of the overused trope of the brooding hero trying to redeem themselves for their past failures by going against the entire world/universe...
If it wasn't Stewart playing the hero, would this be a Trek show at all?
 

Edited by Rippounet

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9 hours ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

Certainly I never got the imprrssion the Federation considered them a threat. Hell, we see a single starship (the Phoenix, Nebula class) fucking the Cardassian fleet up on its own - even after Picard hands over the shield frequency. And I think the Phoenix had a sensor array rather than a torpedo launcher. I don’t remember seeing any torpedo launcher on the ship.

I believe those were just Cardassian transport ships he was destroying because they were transporting weapons. They weren't actually equipped for battle. If I remember right the Cardassian gets mad because Picard won't let the Cardassian warships know where the Phoenix was. He does destroy one warship in a one on one fight later as I recall. 

On another note, god the lighting in Generations is jarring coming right off the series. It's like there's a blackout on the ship the whole movie. 

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11 hours ago, Rippounet said:

TBH Discovery annoyed me at times precisely because it could be so damn positive.

If it helps, it looks like they’ve completely destroyed the Federation in their third season. Not sure why they’re so intent on disrupting the past and future canon but there it is. I guess TOS-VOY is the hay day of the Federation, things started going sideways in PIC and that’s that.

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10 hours ago, RumHam said:

I believe those were just Cardassian transport ships he was destroying because they were transporting weapons. They weren't actually equipped for battle. If I remember right the Cardassian gets mad because Picard won't let the Cardassian warships know where the Phoenix was. He does destroy one warship in a one on one fight later as I recall. 

On another note, god the lighting in Generations is jarring coming right off the series. It's like there's a blackout on the ship the whole movie. 

There were warships too - Dukat/but-not-Dukat asks for the shield frequency so three warships can intercept the Phoenix. Even with the frequency, it still ends badly for the Cardassians.

 

Plus, a ship without a cloak is pretty much acting with impunity in cardassian space. So mucch so that the Cardassians have to accept Federation help in dealing with it.

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57 minutes ago, DaveSumm said:

If it helps, it looks like they’ve completely destroyed the Federation in their third season. Not sure why they’re so intent on disrupting the past and future canon but there it is. I guess TOS-VOY is the hay day of the Federation, things started going sideways in PIC and that’s that.

It's that far in the future it doesn't really matter. It would be like season 3 of Rome being set in the 21st century - can't really lament or embrace the changes as sudden. 

12 hours ago, Rippounet said:

 

TBH Discovery annoyed me at times precisely because it could be so damn positive. But I didn't dwell on it because that's what Trek is all about. 
 

I guess the positive aspects are usually more along the lines of being "woke" (I hate the term but using as a catch-all rather than derogatory expression) which is just as much a reflection on modern viewership/creators as the "dark/violent/cynical". They key difference is that Trek has always been ahead of the curve in terms of recognising and embracing diversity so it fits.

 

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Quote

 

The lady basically tries to insult Picard, by saying something like "we all don't have a massive home to return to" or maybe it was "my accommodations are crap compared to yours" or something along those lines. Long story short, she's basically blaming Picard retiring for her being stuck living like trash, while he has a nice home to return to. 

 

As I believe was discussed previously, it's clearly the case that not everyone can live wherever they want to: 100% of the population of Earth can't live in luxurious mansions because there physically isn't enough room to do so. So there's clearly some people who have advantages others do not: Picard's vineyard has presumably been passed down for generations and he inherited it from his sister-in-law (who, oddly, hasn't been mentioned), so he was quite lucky in that regard.

So in that respect, yes, there are some people in the Federation who have advantages over others. But it Raffi is also living in a very exclusive area; if you tried to drag a trailer up to Vasquez Rocks today, you'd be turfed out in minutes. There seems to be no logical reason why she couldn't live in an apartment in a city or get a job serving on a ship somewhere, even if non-Federation. Starfleet-trained officers seem in high demand in other areas of work and the former first officer of a front-line starship would have career opportunities. She's clearly, to some extent, choosing to live where she does.

 

Quote

 

As for Trek being about numerous things, sure. But that list you gave could be applied to at least half-a-dozen other sci-fi shows, what I'm talking about is what is specific to Trek, not just in the shows, but in the popular imagination, in other words, what specific elements people would reasonably expect from the Trek brand.

 

It's easy to forget how old Trek is. Every other major SF franchise bar only Doctor Who and a few increasingly obscure things (like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon) has come after Trek and borrowed from it, so Trek gradually losing its distinctiveness over the decades has been a thing.

I agree that the characters striving for idealism or optimism is a cornerstone of Trek. They also strive for that idealism or optimism in the face of insurmountable odds, including challenges both external and internal to the Federation. This is nothing new.

But Star Trek is also about the time it is made in. The original series was driven by an at-times jarring mix of the Cold War and hippie people power. Next Generation was made in the time of perestroika, glasnost and the thawing of relations between east and west, as well as the boom of psychology (hence why there's a counsellor on the bridge, which both before and after TNG feels a bit weird, but made more sense in that particular historical context), not to mention Roddenberry tripping balls on two decades of fans telling him what a genius he was. DS9 was driven more by knowledge of the conflict in the Balkans, the Gulf War and the fall of the Soviet Union, more about realpolitik and conflict. Voyager was made in a time of mid-1990s optimism, sometimes in the face of occasionally ridiculous odds. Enterprise was made at the tail end of that period of optimism but then largely in the shadow of 9/11 (literally having "9/11 times a thousand" in the Season 2 finale), which impacted on its tone and feel.

The generational, more-than-a-decade gap between the three distinct generations of Trek (between TOS and TNG and between Enterprise and Discovery, ignoring the movies) is what I think has caused the problem because it feels jarring, although if there had been continuous Trek on screen inbetween we'd still see those changes happening anyway because of the way TV has evolved. If you were suddenly transported from 1969 to 1987, or 2005 to 2017, you'd also see very jarring changes to the world as well.

3 hours ago, DaveSumm said:

If it helps, it looks like they’ve completely destroyed the Federation in their third season. Not sure why they’re so intent on disrupting the past and future canon but there it is. I guess TOS-VOY is the hay day of the Federation, things started going sideways in PIC and that’s that.

In accordance with Gene Roddenberry's vision, as he envisaged the destruction of the Federation apart from one ship which would then slowly help rebuild it. That idea got recycled into Andromeda but Discovery S3 looks like it's adapting the same idea.

There's also no such thing as "future canon" in Trek, as dozens of episodes have made clear. The present is the present and any future they travel to is only one possible future, which may in turn be immediately invalidated by the very experience of knowing about it or travelling to it. The present in Picard has strong similarities to the possible future in All Good Things... (a darker tone, in AGT's case caused by the renewed war with the Klingons, Picard's illness, Picard as an admiral retired to his vineyard) but also glaring differences (the Enterprise-D and Data being destroyed, Romulus being destroyed etc) created at the very instant Picard became aware of that future.

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If raffi has a holodeck in her caravan she can also have a vineyard. Everyone could live in a small apartment and as long as they have a holodeck and replicator life is good.

Does starfleet operate as a democracy and have elections? If it does then i guess it is just as vulnerable to massive changes as we are now. And the dominion war and romulus incidents could easily change popular opinion. I mean they only need to introduce an alien race who has been stirring things up via fake news to seal the deal

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Voyager felt too ‘tame’, too averse to leaving its comfort zone.

Imho Voyager should have returned to Earth around the time DS9 finished. We could have had a few seasons of the crew having to adjust to being part if a fleet, to the bon-Starfleeters deciding whether to stay or not.

And to them adjusting to a wwr-ravaged Federation, where Starfleet is more militaristic. Where most of the officers they knew are dead.

But no. We got seasons 5-7. Sontaran rip-offs dumping their crap.

As an aside, were crew numbers for Voyager confirmed, they seemed fairly high near the end of the series even given the Maquis (how many of those were there?)

Quite a few crew die (not least in the pilot), and Killing Ground suggests high casualties in that two-parter alone.

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1 hour ago, red snow said:

If raffi has a holodeck in her caravan she can also have a vineyard. Everyone could live in a small apartment and as long as they have a holodeck and replicator life is good.

Does starfleet operate as a democracy and have elections? If it does then i guess it is just as vulnerable to massive changes as we are now. And the dominion war and romulus incidents could easily change popular opinion. I mean they only need to introduce an alien race who has been stirring things up via fake news to seal the deal

The Federation has an elected president. Starfleet doesn't, they have military ranks.

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4 hours ago, Werthead said:

But Star Trek is also about the time it is made in. The original series was driven by an at-times jarring mix of the Cold War and hippie people power. Next Generation was made in the time of perestroika, glasnost and the thawing of relations between east and west, as well as the boom of psychology (hence why there's a counsellor on the bridge, which both before and after TNG feels a bit weird, but made more sense in that particular historical context), not to mention Roddenberry tripping balls on two decades of fans telling him what a genius he was. DS9 was driven more by knowledge of the conflict in the Balkans, the Gulf War and the fall of the Soviet Union, more about realpolitik and conflict. Voyager was made in a time of mid-1990s optimism, sometimes in the face of occasionally ridiculous odds. Enterprise was made at the tail end of that period of optimism but then largely in the shadow of 9/11 (literally having "9/11 times a thousand" in the Season 2 finale), which impacted on its tone and feel.

Yes, I agree with all this.

However, I think what would have been nice to see is how the Federation overcame the same problems we have today. Would I dare say that Enterprise turned "9/11" into an opportunity to build the Federation? In other words, instead of having the Federation failing to deal with a refugee crisis (not unlike the EU tbh), to see what idealism actually looks like.
Maybe it's too soon to be pessimistic about the show's outcome. But it's depressing to see the Federation incapable of doing better than our very own nations today. I think Jace (among others) pointed out that this approach is terribly depressing. And I think Jaxom is correct that showing Picard fighting on behalf of the Romulans (and succeeding, godamn it) would have been far more inspiring than seeing him defeated and broken, reduced to fighting for the "daughter of a friend," however important she may prove.

But we'll see. As I said, I'm only pointing out that the concerns are legitimate. Maybe by the end of the season they won't be, who knows.

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8 hours ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

There were warships too - Dukat/but-not-Dukat asks for the shield frequency so three warships can intercept the Phoenix. Even with the frequency, it still ends badly for the Cardassians.

 

Plus, a ship without a cloak is pretty much acting with impunity in cardassian space. So mucch so that the Cardassians have to accept Federation help in dealing with it.

I stand corrected. 

2 hours ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

Imho Voyager should have returned to Earth around the time DS9 finished. We could have had a few seasons of the crew having to adjust to being part if a fleet, to the bon-Starfleeters deciding whether to stay or not.

That might be the worst thing about Voyager. That it just ends before they even set foot on earth. 

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2 hours ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

Why in the everliving fuck would Starfleet have elections? They have ranks. A hierarchical military structure.

Corvinus was correct in my mixing up starfleet and the federation but I think my point still stands that if starfleet is answerable to the Federation then it's also answerable to the people electing the federation.

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9 hours ago, red snow said:

I guess the positive aspects are usually more along the lines of being "woke" (I hate the term but using as a catch-all rather than derogatory expression) which is just as much a reflection on modern viewership/creators as the "dark/violent/cynical". They key difference is that Trek has always been ahead of the curve in terms of recognising and embracing diversity so it fits.

By "so damn positive" I was referring to the fact that at times it felt like everyone aboard Discovery was a selfless super-genius and that the crew as a whole might just try to capture a black hole if it could help rescue a stranded kitten. In other words, even though the story was set just before TOS chronologically it felt that these humans were even more enlightened than those of TNG.
It was a relief when Spock started gently chiding Burnham for her savior complex.

Edited by Rippounet

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4 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

By "so damn positive" I was referring to the fact that at times it felt like everyone aboard Discovery was a selfless super-genius and that the crew as a whole might just try to capture a black hole if it could help rescue a stranded kitten. In other words, even though the story was set just before TOS chronologically it felt that these humans were even more enlightened than those of TNG.
It was a relief when Spock started gently chiding Burnham for her savior complex.

Okaaaay... what the fuck happened to season 2? At the time I was dropping the show everyone was a mean-spirited petty asshole constantly bitching at each other.

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9 minutes ago, Toth said:

Okaaaay... what the fuck happened to season 2? At the time I was dropping the show everyone was a mean-spirited petty asshole constantly bitching at each other.

Some episodes of season 2 definitely went 180° in the other direction imho.

Spoiler for season 2:

 

By the end of the season, even mirror-universe Georgiou was somehow a "good guy"

Edited by Rippounet

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5 hours ago, red snow said:

Does starfleet operate as a democracy and have elections? If it does then i guess it is just as vulnerable to massive changes as we are now. And the dominion war and romulus incidents could easily change popular opinion. I mean they only need to introduce an alien race who has been stirring things up via fake news to seal the deal

The Federation is a democratic state and has an elected assembly and an elected president. It's unknown what the structure is beyond that. Each Federation world has its own internal political system with the Federation operating above it all. 

Starfleet is the Federation's external contact body, operating as a mix of a military, a coastguard and a scientific research institution.

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8 minutes ago, Werthead said:

The Federation is a democratic state and has an elected assembly and an elected president. It's unknown what the structure is beyond that. Each Federation world has its own internal political system with the Federation operating above it all. 

Starfleet is the Federation's external contact body, operating as a mix of a military, a coastguard and a scientific research institution.

I guess this is what Patrick Stewart was alluding to with his comparisons to the EU. Although I guess with that analogy it would be more likely that an alien race/political entity would leave the Federation rather than convince it to do something the majority weren't in favour of. Unless the Federation is more like the US (possibly a clue in the name) and it's not that easy/possible to leave. 

 

29 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

By "so damn positive" I was referring to the fact that at times it felt like everyone aboard Discovery was a selfless super-genius and that the crew as a whole might just try to capture a black hole if it could help rescue a stranded kitten. In other words, even though the story was set just before TOS chronologically it felt that these humans were even more enlightened than those of TNG.
It was a relief when Spock started gently chiding Burnham for her savior complex.

I guess I'm used to star trek characters being super awesome at everything.

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2 minutes ago, red snow said:

I guess this is what Patrick Stewart was alluding to with his comparisons to the EU. Although I guess with that analogy it would be more likely that an alien race/political entity would leave the Federation rather than convince it to do something the majority weren't in favour of. Unless the Federation is more like the US (possibly a clue in the name) and it's not that easy/possible to leave. 

I guess I'm used to star trek characters being super awesome at everything.

A Federation member world seceding is entirely possible, and this was going to happen during the Dominion War with Vulcan quitting the Federation so as not to take part in the fighting any more. They decided that was a bit too much and pulled back from it.

The internal politics of the Federation, bearing in mind the Andorians' deep mistrust of almost everyone and the Vulcans' overbearing manner, not to mention the Tellarites' mercantile attitude, is something that it'd be fascinating to look into in more detail.

Clearly, although the Federation is cool and all, some worlds aren't that keen on joining up. Bajor never joined the Federation and was all the better off for it.

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